How Do You Find the National Origin of a Last Name?

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Find the national origin of a last name by searching for the name on a website such as, or The information available on these websites varies depending on the popularity of the name.

The Internet Surname Database allows users to search for a name by simply typing it into the search bar at the top of the page. If the name is in the database, the site redirects the user to a page of historic information about the name. This information generally includes the origin and meaning of the name, as well as statistics and notable figures if applicable. For example, the name “Smith” is Anglo-Saxon in origin and generally the most popular surname amongst English speakers.

Behind the Name provides simple background information about a given surname. This website displays the name’s source, usage and pronunciation as well as some information on its meaning and history. For example, the source of the name “Smith” is an occupation, its usage is English, and its meaning is derived from the Old English for “metalworker” or “blacksmith.”

The Name Lab page on Family Education displays a name’s origin, meaning and spelling variations as both a surname and a given name.